How service companies operate during COVID-19
How service companies operate during COVID-19
During the COVID-19 stay-at-home order or the public’s recommendation to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many service companies are struggling to maintain operations. This article shares tips on how to help maintain customer satisfaction, employee safety, and cash flow, even during lock-in periods.A generationAmong the states without official lockdowns, most states have cities and counties that encourage citizens to self-isolate. As a service company that is still trying to operate, your “new normal” may include figuring out how to satisfy customers, employee safety, and cash flow.
Basic and non-essential services
Although the federal government almost leaves the state and local governments with necessary and non-essential businesses to decide, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Guidelines have been issued on which companies and which workers are considered essential to our country’s infrastructure.
Although the entertainment business is considered non-essential, and anything related to medical care, food production, utilities, and communications are considered essential, there are some gray areas in the service business. formal, Department of Homeland Security explained The list of basic staff inquiries is as follows:
“… Workers engaged in a series of operations and services, which are usually critical to the continued viability of critical infrastructure, including equipping an operation center, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating a call center, working construction, and executing operations Functions, etc. It also includes workers who support critical supply chains and enable critical infrastructure functions. The industry representatives they support but are not limited to healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water, and Wastewater, law enforcement and public works.”
So, plumber, yes, there is also a dog care service, right? unnecessary. Similarly, you need to seek clarification from the local government. Although some states only explicitly list veterinary offices and pet supply stores as essential, other states are more vague, stating that “pet supplies and services” are essential and can therefore be exempt from closure. Nonetheless, the customers of your service business will continue to need the services you provide. Your first challenge is to understand whether your business falls within the scope of the definition of “basic service”, which varies from state to state. Then, if your business meets the essential conditions, your next challenge will be to figure out how to conduct business and provide your products or services to the public without endangering their health-and the health of your employees .
Security is everywhere
For companies, transparency and communication have never been more important than during a crisis. If you, as a business owner, are confused about key security measures (such as wearing a mask or not wearing a mask?), then you know that the same is true for your employees and customers. It is important to clearly communicate your policies and procedures to ensure that everyone is protected from infection.
If you haven’t changed the homepage of your website to acknowledge the crisis, then this is a good place to start. =Considerations include:
- Any scheduling modification, such as delayed response time or shortened working hours.
- If your office is closed, the best way to contact you
- What procedures do you have for safety, such as having employees wear masks and gloves, disinfecting tools, or whatever you are doing.
- If you are still sending employees to complete the service, you can ask the customer to notify you when they have any illness at home or in the office.
In addition, please be sure to maintain regular communication with employees to understand their family situation, self-disinfection methods, and any fears they have about contracting the virus. As the virus continues to spread and suppress people’s lives, you may need to be creative and give more flexibility in your schedule.
The stay-at-home order need not be as harmful as it used to be, especially for service companies. With the right technology and network security measures, you and your employees can move to a home office without hesitation. Graphic designers, web services, accounting services, consultants, etc. may already provide employees with remote working options, so setting up is a breeze. For companies that have not yet taken the virtual train, the transition is not as painful as you might think. Investing in a good project management plan can help, so everyone can understand the progress of the project. In addition, it is also helpful to schedule regular virtual meetings through video conferencing applications such as Skype or Zoom.
You may find that your employees already have the technology that makes remote work possible. For those who don’t, as long as you all understand how to reduce security risks, allowing employees to temporarily take their workstations home is not a big deal.
Employees are likely to need access to your company’s virtual private network (VPN), and this is where the risk occurs. Before allowing anyone access, consider establishing a remote security policy that employees must follow. Of course, the guidelines depend on the sensitivity of your company’s information. The following may provide some basic hints:
- Hardware and software anti-malware, firewall and antivirus programs
- Encryption strategy
- Access rights and authentication
- Connection guide
- Cryptographic protocol
- Acceptable use policy
Help with payroll
If you are now like most small businesses, you may face the challenge of keeping employees on the payroll during a crisis.This Family’s First Coronavirus Response Act and The CARES Act provides approximately US$600 billion in funding for small businesses. Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans provide companies with a 1% loan. If used for salary (75%) and approved business management expenses (25%), it may become a grant. Although PPP applications are no longer accepted, it is still pending legislation to reopen the program.
To help clarify and keep you updated on the latest information related to your business, please check Fundbox Coronavirus/COVID-19 updates and resources for small businesses.